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Wed, Nov 18


Zoom Meetings

Providing Workplace Prevention in the Changing Landscape of Covid-19

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Providing Workplace Prevention in the Changing Landscape of Covid-19
Providing Workplace Prevention in the Changing Landscape of Covid-19

Time & Location

Nov 18, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST

Zoom Meetings

About the Event

The workplace is one of the most neglected settings for prevention programming, especially programming devoted to preventing the use of psychoactive substances such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana etc.. However, the workplace presents an opportunity to not only reach adults themselves, but also their children and the larger community with prevention messaging and prevention strategies. Many prevention professionals may not be familiar with workplace prevention interventions or services nor with the particular stresses of the workplace that can increase vulnerability for substance use.

Those stresses have increased dramatically in the age of Covid-19.  The workplace can be frontline—i.e., facing the pandemic in providing critical services--or teleworking from home with its own set of stressors.  Workplace prevention strategies can be applied to address these concerns.  At a micro-level, stresses include people working from home, who may be spending longer hours on the job, engaging much more with technology and in many cases, working in environments that are not ideal, due to family responsibilities, including child care, homeschooling their children, and other added obligations. At a macro level, COVID-19 pandemic has affected all industries and increasing job insecurity for workers. All these factors have added stresses and concerns for workers and in particular, workers who are parents.

In this talk, we will be joined by Rebekah Hersch, PhD and Anthony Coetzer-Liversage, PhD candidate, to discuss how COVID-19 has changed the way people work and relate to colleagues and their workplaces and has become a risk factor for engaging in substance use. We will also discuss how now more than ever workplaces need to advocate for and introduce evidence-based workplace prevention interventions and policies that address these added factors and how to overcome the barriers that seem to impede the implementation of workplace interventions.

We are looking forward to discussing prevention opportunities in the workplace and to a lively conversation around this topic. Please come with all your questions and ideas, so that all of us as prevention professionals can maximize our outcomes in this changing landscape.


Rebekah Hersch, Ph.D., is Associate Director, Research Development, Integrity, and Assurance at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia (Workplace). Prior to Dr. Hersch joining the staff at George Mason University, she was Senior Research Scientist and Senior Vice President at ISA Associates in Alexandria, Virginia.  Dr. Hersch received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Clark University in Worcester, MA and her Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology (with a concentration on health) at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Hersch has been conducting workplace-based health promotion and substance abuse prevention research and development for over 25 years.  The recent focus of her research has been on the application of multimedia technology and health behavior change theory and science to address behavioral health problems and improve the wellness.  The programs developed and field-tested address a myriad of health problems including substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, stress, and mental illness and have be tested in a wide-variety of workplaces. Dr. Hersch was the Principal Investigator or Senior Research Scientist on a number of technology-based multimedia programs designed to address substance use including Parent Power:  Raising Safe and Drug Free Kids; Prevention Connection: Integrating Substance Abuse Prevention and Health Promotion; Going Forward, a relapse prevention program; and Healthy WorkLife, a health promotion and substance abuse prevention program for young, working adults. Dr. Hersch also served as a Research Scientist on the evaluation of Power Tools, a substance abuse prevention program for construction industry workers; and the Young Adults in the Workplace (YIW) project, which tested the effectiveness of a wellness and substance abuse prevention for young, hospital-based workers.  Dr. Hersch also served as a senior member of the research team evaluating the effectiveness of other web-based programs for working adults including:  Health Connection, addressing stress, nutrition, and exercise; Stress and Mood Management, focusing on stress management, depression, and anxiety; and Healthy Past 50, designed to address health and wellness among working adults age 50 and over. 

Anthony Coetzer-Liversage is a Hubert H Humphrey/Fulbright Alumni and currently working on his PhD in Public Health, with a specialization in Prevention Sciences at Kent State University in Ohio (USA). He is a UPC Master Trainer for Applied Prevention Sciences International (APSI), and a registered Clinical Pastoral Therapist with the South Africa Association of Pastoral Workers, and a Registered Counselor with the Health Professional Council of South Africa. Anthony focus on looking at integrating prevention and treatment of health conditions, especially  substance use, HIV and trauma. Within these he has worked a lot within vulnerable populations, especially men who have sex with men (MSM), and with people dealing with issues of spirituality/religion. Anthony’s current interest is global capacity development of substance use prevention specialists, and is looking into the implementation, and evaluation of the Universal Prevention Curriculum developed by Applied Prevention Sciences International on behalf of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Department within the State Department and Colombo Plan (the ICCE division).

He is experienced in workplace interventions addressing various health issues, but especially substance use and HIV/AIDS. He has a special interest in Higher Education and Adult Education, both in face-to-face, blended and online learning. He is also currently the Chairperson of Inner Peace (a NPO), which provides substance abuse prevention and treatment services within South Africa, with a special focus on minority groups. It also has the only registered Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment Program in the Northern Cape, South Africa, with services in Cape Town as well.

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